When you put something up on social media and it goes viral ( which means gets shared and commented on a lot more than your usual posts), you know it’s something people are interested in, shocked about, or amused by. I now know from experience that the following  topic definitely surprises and shocks a lot of people. Two years ago we posted a video with Michael  showing the fleeces from the sheep, just after shearing, and he explains that the market for wool was very poor and that the bags we were storing the wool in, were worth more than the wool itself. If you like that video is here.

During the week I reshared the video with the following text to update on the situation: “This video was two years ago “the worst year ever” we thought. This year our local wool merchant has ceased trading (not viable anymore). This year to bring wool to our nearest merchant, the cost of fuel would be greater than the money we’d get for the wool, so it went on the manure heap” .

The usual horror, suggestions, outcry ensued. To clarify, we have to shear our sheep every year, for welfare reasons, it would not be fair to leave them with a fleece that would continue to grow, they would overheat, get slowed down, and eventually not able to move to survive. But because of the popularity of synthetic fibres over the past decades and the cost of transporting, treating, cleaning and colouring wool the market has declined, and we are now in this situation.

What can we do? Not a lot, to develop processing, cleaning treatment and transporting facilities to treat wool, would cost a fortune and at the moment, with spiralling costs on every side we have to focus on our core business.

What can you do? Support small local Irish businesses, buy from them, share their stories, recommend their products or services to anyone you feel would be interested. This is just one small tale about wool, but similar things are happening all over Ireland, supply and demand trends all over the world affects everyone.

In other happier news we are expecting 65 - 75 18 year olds to the house this evening for a joint 18th birthday celebration for one of the junior shepherds – ovens are being cleaned, balloons being blown up, speakers tested and lots and lots of false tan being applied. Wish us luck, I will talk to you on the other side.

 

Aisling Flanagan